Washington Caps beat St. Louis Blues 4-1
WASHINGTON (AP) - Alex Ovechkin won the head-to-head matchup between the NHL's two leading goal scorers Sunday, getting a pair in the first period to move into a tie with Alexander Steen in the Washington Capitals' 4-1 win over the St. Louis Blues.
Ovechkin's 16th and 17th goals led the Capitals to their third straight win and seventh in nine games. Mikhail Grabovski and John Carlson also scored for Washington, Nicklas Backstrom had three assists, and Braden Holtby made 46 saves.
Ovechkin and Steen are two of the NHL's hottest forwards playing for two of the league's hottest teams, but the Capitals cruised after dominating early, scoring on three of their first six shots against Jaroslav Halak.
Sprung on a pass at center ice by Backstrom, Ovechkin sped past the Blues defensemen and into the right circle for a clean look at Halak, beating the goaltender stick-side. Ovechkin then flicked in a rebound off a shot by Karl Alzner to give the Capitals a 2-0 lead less than 13 minutes into the game.
That left Ovechkin even atop the league's goal list with Steen, who had his points streak come to an end at 13 games, the longest for a Blues player since Pierre Turgeon's 15-game run in 1999-2000.
Vladimir Sobotka scored in the second period for the Blues, who had won eight of 10. St. Louis was playing for the third time in four nights, including a back-to-back after a home win over the Carolina Hurricanes on Saturday.
The Blues took a season-high 47 shots compared to 20 for the Capitals, but Washington made its chances count. After Ovechkin's two goals, Grabovski poked in a rebound from a tight angle to make it 3-0 late in the first period.
The Blues and Capitals also have the top two power plays in the NHL, and they traded man-advantage goals in the second period. Sobotka and Carlson each scored with a drive through traffic from high in the slot, with Carlson's goal ending an 0 for 11 power-play drought for Washington over the previous three games.
The Blues had a chance to close the gap in the third period with a 5 on 3 power play that was set to last 1:19, but David Backes canceled out one of the penalties when he was whistled for interference.
Notes: The Blues had scored first in their previous 10 games. ... The Capitals have won six in a row at home. ... Washington D Mike Green missed his second consecutive game with a lower body injury. ... The Capitals recalled D Dmitry Orlov from Hershey of the AHL before the game.